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      02-06-2019, 01:42 PM   #1
The HACK
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Sometimes you just have to appreciate how INSANE this car is

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I'm not going to lie...I live in Southern California and I do not have a commute. Not anymore. I wake up, walk 20 ft to my computer from my bedroom, and I work. That's my daily commute. I haven't driven in rush hour traffic for over 1.5 years now, and it feels great.

But that also means both my MZ4 Coupe and my Corvette Grand Sport has had a total of 4,xxx miles put on between them in the last 12 months.

I feel guilty. I do. If I need to go on long vacation trips, we'd take my wife's 335D. If I need to go to Costco or grocery stores, I take the i3. Lunch with a friend, or night to pain the town red, or hitting the local bar for a quick drink or two, I fire up the Corvette because the novelty hasn't worn off. Yet.

Plus, you know, MID LIFE.

Track duties last year has pretty much been evenly divided between the MZ4 Coupe and the Grand Sport. And every Sunday I fire up the MZ4 Coupe when the wife and kid are at church just to go blast around the local freeways and on-off ramps. Rarely do I go back to back with both the Corvette and the MZ4 Coupe, but yesterday I did.

Long story short, the LT1 was designed from the ground up to be used on a truck. Really. They meant for the engine to have all the torque in the world on the down low, and the horse power is just the by-product. The most glaring evidence is how GM designed the throttle body. It's got an offset inlet (the inlet and the outlet to the TB isn't lined up straight) with a thick "lip" designed into the inlet part, while the actual throttle plate has a "blockage" for about the first 30% of its travel that the air will have to go around said lip. This design is perfect for a car (truck) that lives most of its life on the first 30% of its throttle pedal travel, with gobs of low-end torque on the first 3,000 RPM, to keep the fuel consumption low (because air flow is restricted), therefore a car (truck) can achieve a reasonable fuel economy despite a massive V8.

For performance application the throttle body absolutely sucks. There's zero control between part throttle (at 30%) and when the throttle blade moves past that inner lip. It goes from mostly closed to sucking in air within a small area of movement on the pedal. Almost makes it feel like driving a turbo diesel with a massive single turbo setup. So I ended up buying a ported TB with most of that "lip" removed. So the Corvette finally drives like a sports car, not a freakin' truck anymore.

I was all happy with the result until I fired up the MZ4 Coupe.

There's no comparison. Really. I know on paper, there's a huge chasm of difference. Horse power. Torque. Center of mass. Suspension technology and design. Tire size and grip. Brakes. Aerodynamics. Everything except for weight is in the favor of the Corvette. Even weight isn't that far apart, about 200 lbs (about the same between the MZ4 Coupe and an E46 M3). Heck if you factor in inflation, what I paid for the MZ4 Coupe is about the same as what I paid for the Corvette. New. And when push comes to shove, the REAL tangible evidence bore most of this out. On average I was faster in the Grand Sport by 7-8 seconds on the same 3 mile track.

But the intangibles? Oh my god the intangibles. I thought the throttle response has gotten 10X better with the ported throttle body on the Grand Sport. Then I drove the MZ4 Coupe. Holy. Crap. You're immediately reminded what REAL throttle response is. How 6 individual electronically controlled throttle bodies translate your right foot's movement into an immediate symphonic explosion of revs. It was a gut punch to know that I can throw as much money at the Corvette as I wish, and it will NEVER respond to my right foot like the MZ4 Coupe does. Never. Nor the fact that by the end of the on-ramp I've already rowed through all 6 gears on the MZ4 Coupe, while the Corvette is still on 4th (but at land in jail speeds). Or how insanely tight and taut the body of the MZ4 Coupe is, even on surface streets. The tactile feedback of the steering, which EVERY journalist commends on the Corvette? Pales in f**king comparison. They can say "oh electronic power steering has come a long way" but honestly? Drive them back to back. You can not replicate the feel of a Servotronic hydraulic assisted steering. You just can't.

It's just incredible what a visceral experience it is to drive the MZ4. There's nothing on the market today quite like it.

It isn't to say the Corvette Grand Sport is a bad car. It is immensely rewarding to drive, infinitely more practical than the MZ4 Coupe, best of both worlds experience with the top stowed away, and the auditory and visual stimulation is incredible, especially when you get on the throttle. You're rewarded with one of the most incredible exhaust notes in history from the push-rod V8 as the scenery disappear in front of your eyes. The insanity inducing lateral Gs, the eye ball popping deceleration and back breaking acceleration...The pops and burbles when you jump off throttle in ANY gear...It is automotive God's gift to a driving enthusiast. It really is. That angular arrow shaped body not only looks fast, it backs up every bit of that claim by going fast, straights or twists.

And man, when you come out of the car after a quick jaunt up the local mountain roads (and here in So. Cal, we're chock full of fantastic, well maintained mountain roads. Price of living in paradise, I suppose), you take a deep breath, and as the adrenaline recedes from your body you feel this euphoria swell from your nether regions as your hand shakes slightly from the adrenaline withdraw. LOVE that feeling.

But you get that feeling sometimes just driving down the street in the MZ4 Coupe. It's weird. You don't even have to really be pushing the MZ4 Coupe all the time to get adrenaline to flood your system. Because the steering is so tight, the throttle so responsive, the body so willing to rotate with or without power...Every time I go on my Sunday drive in the MZ4 Coupe, I always come back feeling like I had just pee'd a little. It's that good. And you take it to the track or local mountain roads, and all of a sudden you dial that all the way past 11.

It is incredibly rewarding to drive the MZ4 Coupe.

There are few reasonably affordable cars like it. I suspect the Lotus Exige is like that, but dialed up even more. The old Z3 M Coupe for sure. I know and understand my friend's obsession with it when he told me he's owned 7 Z3 Coupes total and is looking to buy another. The E30 M3 I drove (a friend of mine lent it to me) feels like that at and near the limits. I have surgeon like steady hands, even on a whole pot of coffee it's rock steady. But whenever I'm done driving my MZ4 Coupe I can always sense a slight tremor from the excitement that just ensued.

The MZ4 Coupe isn't going to set any lap records soon. It's not even the fastest BMW by a wide margin, although at local, more technical tracks it'll hold its own with me behind the wheels against other newer and later Ms driven by other instructors. Its fun factor is off the charts but it's actual performance is now just so-so on paper. I do enjoy wringing the bejesus out of it. Do I enjoy that more than dusting off personal bests with little to no effort like I do in the Corvette? I dunno. I just know that, if it weren't for the MZ4 Coupe in the garage, I'd probably be singing the same praises for the Corvette Grand Sport right now.

Obligatory pictures.
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      02-06-2019, 02:20 PM   #2
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That was a poetic write up!
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      02-06-2019, 04:48 PM   #3
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Well done HACK!
Such a visceral description of each marque....it's staggering to hear that one is 7-8 sec per lap quicker, but the raw emotion is discovered in the Bavarian Beast....
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      02-07-2019, 12:13 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by The HACK View Post
But you get that feeling sometimes just driving down the street in the MZ4 Coupe. It's weird. You don't even have to really be pushing the MZ4 Coupe...
Indeed. 11+ years later and it still makes me feel all tingly.
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      02-07-2019, 09:23 AM   #5
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Hope you took a cold shower after writing that.
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      02-07-2019, 10:12 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by elerner61 View Post
Hope you took a cold shower after writing that.
LOL. Yes cargasm is a real thing.
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      02-07-2019, 12:02 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by The HACK View Post
LOL. Yes cargasm is a real thing.
Good job cleaning up the car!
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      02-07-2019, 12:47 PM   #8
The HACK
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Good thing I'm never selling the car, otherwise any smart buyer doing due diligence will find this thread and, um, zero chance of selling it.
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      02-07-2019, 09:38 PM   #9
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Nice post Hack, love the comparison.
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      02-08-2019, 08:05 PM   #10
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So jealous! Commuting to work in salt encrusted Mercedes GLK. Luckily parked in garage- start her up... hit seat heaters and wait for engine to warm . Drive through ice and snow covered roads watching out for lunatics with summer tires and no winter driving experience..Dreaming about spring and the M Coupe covered at office!
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      02-10-2019, 01:23 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by garz747 View Post
So jealous! Commuting to work in salt encrusted Mercedes GLK. Luckily parked in garage- start her up... hit seat heaters and wait for engine to warm . Drive through ice and snow covered roads watching out for lunatics with summer tires and no winter driving experience..Dreaming about spring and the M Coupe covered at office!
Me too
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      02-12-2019, 02:29 AM   #12
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I know exactly what you mean reg. the LT1 response. It's very flexible but not fast to rev. I've got the ported throttle body and heard the ported intake manifold helps as well. But it's hard to see it matching the response of 6 ITBs without porting the heads and adding a cam, which drives many supporting mods..

But even with the S54 I find myself missing a cable connected throttle body. The quest for the ideal blend of technology and analog connection can go on for some time before inevitably ending at a Singer Porsche.
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      02-12-2019, 12:43 PM   #13
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I drive my roadie through the cold months here in NY on another set of wheels/tires (but not in wet or salty conditions). In just the past weeks I realized I've gotten used to (as I do every year) driving in it with the top down (sigh, I've assimilated). Had one top down drive last week when it freakishly warmed up to 50+ degrees. Snowing here today. Give me strength.
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      02-12-2019, 02:08 PM   #14
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Top down unite!

Quote:
Originally Posted by elerner61 View Post
I drive my roadie through the cold months here in NY on another set of wheels/tires (but not in wet or salty conditions). In just the past weeks I realized I've gotten used to (as I do every year) driving in it with the top down (sigh, I've assimilated). Had one top down drive last week when it freakishly warmed up to 50+ degrees. Snowing here today. Give me strength.
Well done.

Seattle just experienced big snow (for us) and the beloved Red Roadster is tucked in the garage, awaiting civilized weather.
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      02-12-2019, 04:43 PM   #15
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Well said The HACK! Appreciate this comparo <333

And congrats on the homepage feature
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      02-12-2019, 04:55 PM   #16
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A+
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      02-12-2019, 05:11 PM   #17
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S54 + manual 6 speed + hydraulic steering + mechanical limited slip + tight chassis = pure driving joy.
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      02-12-2019, 06:52 PM   #18
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Heck Hack, I can get you the same excitement at even lower speeds, at a fifth the cost. Im talking about a nice NA Miata on a good suspension and a few other choice upgrades. You get to rev the snot out of it on each and every trip including your driveway... because you have to or get run over.

Very nicely put, and I subscribe to that feeling.

My Z4 is not an M, but many of the virtues you extol are present and correct. And its 300+ lbs lighter. I bought it for a song, and its probably worth even less now.
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      02-12-2019, 08:46 PM   #19
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As a former fellow M Z4 Coupe owner, I agree.
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      02-12-2019, 10:49 PM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tiltmode43 View Post
Well said The HACK! Appreciate this comparo <333

And congrats on the homepage feature
Oh. SNAP.

There goes ALL hope of selling the MZ4 Coupe and no one finding out the cargasms Ive had in this car.
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      02-12-2019, 10:58 PM   #21
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But have you drive a 328i???
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      02-12-2019, 11:00 PM   #22
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But have you drive a 328i???
Yes. Yes I have. E92 328i.
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